Due to the increased global production, there is quite a modification between the 21st century and the 19th-century working conditions. During the emergence of industrialization, factory production was horrendous whereby employees worked for long hours just to be paid low wages with unsanitary working conditions that triggered several deaths. Sweatshop workers experienced grim working conditions where they literally worked hard to meet the high quotas and the demands of the customers just to be low wages. Today, the United States and Europe Nations have advanced their industry union hence, there are fewer problems faced. For instance, the labor force in California is faced with issues of income disparity which is one standard measure of inequality. Most African-Americans working class are poor as compared to Asians and Whites. The low wages remunerated to them explain why they live in the poor neighborhood that is susceptible to high crime rates (murder, rape, robbery, and assault) and poor living conditions that impact on the residents’ health. As such, the state lawmakers should push for policies that can help in closing the income gap.
Fundamentally, the African Americans working class receives low wages that cannot buy them houses. The average Net worth for black Americans is 14% in California which is why they are likely to live in poverty than whites. Only 37% of African Americans own homes as compared to the 64% Whites. Primarily, inferior rates of house ownerships are steered by the ongoing discriminatory practices in the mortgage industry.
Unquestionably, the low-income wages cannot buy houses or pay for the expensive mortgages. Tumpson in his article of “Neighborhood Inequalities and the Long‐Term Impact of Foreclosures: Evidence from the Los Angeles–Inland Empire Region,” asserts that the socio-capital inequalities led to foreclosure vacancies in the black neighborhood thus a decline in the growth in such zones (p325). As such, most of the working class lives in the dangerous neighborhood which encompasses rampant violent crimes such as increased instances of burglary in the streets. California for a fact has had a frequent media report on homicide cases (assault) in the African American vicinities. Shooting is common in San Francisco streets and are mostly linked to shoplifting.
Additionally, the working class African American resides in poor living conditions. With the increasing immigration to the U.S, the living conditions have differed. A good example is in the fast fashion industry where the owners have little regard for the worker’s environment. Also, most of the factories use harmful chemicals that have led to numerous deaths of workers with prevalence such as fire injuries. The neighborhoods also have poor living conditions caused by numerous pollutants mostly from the emissions of industries since most of them live in the industrial areas causing increased number of deaths steered by effects of lead poisoning and lung cancer. Calefati, in his “Why is San Francisco the state’s worst county for black student achievement?” stated that many black families in San Francisco are concentrated in the public houses near the industrial city areas (Bayview) that are toxic (para9). This explains their vulnerability to such ailments. Likewise, some live in the industry since they cannot afford the cost of living. For example, in Elmonte a suburb of Los Angeles, there was a sweatshop which was more like a slave shop where workers slept on factory floors after working for long hours. This was steered by the diminutive payments that could not even buy them necessities from the company. These unsanitary working conditions led to numerous deaths.
Moderating income inequality
Nations can forge for growth by adopting moderate income inequality policy. This policy will stop the inevitable rising levels of income disparity and result to the economic development by allowing low-wage earners to purchase homes. One strategy for ensuring the success of this policy is the campaign for inclusive growth patterns that is heightened by allowing the low- income earners to accrue benefits. According to the United Nations Development Program; “Humanity divided: Confronting inequality in developing countries “moderating income inequality is a significant way of reducing income disparity since it influences the primary distribution of income which does not necessarily require a substantial redistributive effort from the government (p229). Raising the income for poor households will boost their domestic aggregate demand because of the probability of a greater marginal inclination to consume unlike the higher household income earners who spend their extra income in locally produced goods. The plan is to foster a sustainable growth that is more inclusive of the black Americans by providing them an adequate lively hood such as provision of descent jobs and a growing labor force. This policy will enable the income of the household to increase more than average. On the contrary, the new average income could still make some households live under poverty levels. As such, to reduce job inequality, sufficient amount of jobs should be created to secure employment of the majority. The generated jobs should provide sufficient income security and stability of work to all groups thus, equal access to everyone. Indeed, the inequality in employment access is the reason behind the persistent inequality wages that is paid to the working class. This is based on the fact that companies who avail the few jobs pay them less knowing they are the only companies that are offering jobs. This case was mostly common during the period of industrialization as compared to today.
Adaptation of minimum wage policy
Adopting minimum wage policy will help to reduce the effects of poverty and inequality faced by low wages earners. Labor market unions have used this legislation to prevent exploitation of employees by their employers. Primarily, the principle aims at setting a wage flow that grants all workers a gain in productivity thus, is able to afford the economic living conditions such as buying houses and paying for medical treatments. This policy has been implicated in more than 90 countries and I believe that if California can employ it, most of the working class African Americans will subsidize it. Most significantly, establishment of minimum wages will effectively improve the distribution of income thus, reduction in the levels of income disparity among the working class. The minimum wage should be high so as to allow the minority groups to have decent living standards (safe living conditions). On the contrary, higher minimum wages will make companies fire some other employees due to inability to keep up with the economic conditions. As such, economists argue that increasing the minimum wages possess increment in the employment growth rate as well as the countries real GDP. A good example is Brazil who raised the minimum wages which led to the reduction in in the levels of inequality. Besides, increasing the minimum wages will escalate pay for the workers. The policy is however mostly used for low-skilled workers which is a risk of the poorest remaining unemployment.
Strengthen Collective Bargaining
Collective bargain reduces the inequality levels in wages. It establishes a standard rate by which a comparison is made among works, for particular occupations based on wage differentiation among workers. The policy mainly aims at closing the wage gap between occupations thus, reduction of the income inequality. The wages set by collective bargaining are often implemented on companies that do not cover collective bargaining. It is mainly concerned with reducing wage inequality between the top and bottom deciles of income distribution. Collective bargaining can be established both at the enterprise and the industrial sector of the economy. The common issues bargained are wages, employment contracts, health benefits, and safety environment and housing conditions of employees. By strengthening collective bargaining, workers will have improved living conditions (sanitary environment) since companies will observe environmental justice. Collective bargaining can be enforced by the government through enforcement of legislations that encourages the extension of unions to help in protecting the low-wage earners. On the contrary, this policy can make organizations not to hire new employees but retain the ones already hired.
The government can achieve moderation of income inequality by improving the business environment for low wage earners. For example, the government can ensure return of mortgage interests to families earning below $50000 a year instead of deduction. Correspondingly, the fair labor association can implicate minimum wage policies by closing the gap between wages and costs of living by means of ensuring that people who work full time do not fall below the poverty level. For example, they can increase the minimum wage levels to $9 an hour. This policy will ensure that families with two children do not fall below the poverty level. Similarly, the new minimum wages should be directly proportional to the US economy to avoid inflation issues. Further, the worker association union can strengthen collective bargaining by setting codes and conduct that allows workers to bargain on the working benefits.
Irrefutably, poverty and inequality have substantially impacted on the working class of African American. Aspects such as increased crime rates, health deficiency and fewer house ownership rates are as a result of increasing gap between wages and costs of living. As such, the formation of labor unions such as fair labor association and worker’s right association will help in the reduction of these issues by setting policies that every company must abide by; lower minimum wages and collective bargaining power of employees. Likewise, the government can moderate income inequality. From the set conducts, I advocate for the return of mortgage interests to the low wage earners and setting a minimum wage that will not make full-time workers fall under the poverty level, and profiting working conditions.
Calefati, Jessica. Why is San Francisco the state’s worst county for black student achievement? (2017). Retrieved from: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article181525146.html
Molina, Emily Tumpson. “Neighborhood Inequalities and the Long‐Term Impact of Foreclosures: Evidence from the Los Angeles–Inland Empire Region.” City & Community 15.3 (2016): 315-337.
United Nations Development Program. “Humanity divided: Confronting inequality in developing countries.” (2013).